This picture was taken last May in Mississippi. We were on a mission trip and helping to rebuild homes destroyed by Katrina. Yes, more than New Orleans was involved in the devastation.
The home I was helping build was on stilts about sixteen feet off the ground.
Stilts seems like such an inadequate term. When we hear “stilts”, most of us think of the circus performers, or perhaps our own homemade stilts. 2X4s with wooden blocks several inches off the ground.
In our building, the stilts were more like redwood trees. They had to be at least 12X12.
In any case, everything we did on that house required walking up the steps… and carrying everything we needed. Tools, drinking water, lumber, nails… my aching body – all had to go up those steps.
We were building the supports for the roof. We were using 2X6 lumber and each board was about sixteen feet long. I can’t tell you how many times I went up those steps dragging a board with me.
I am digging up these memories for three reasons.
First, I’m sitting here in Georgia listening to the Winter Storm Warnings and not seeing a single snow flake. I love snow and am disappointed every time we go through one of these false alarms. Life isn’t fair!
Second, those clouds in Mississippi were just as disappointing. Since the house we were working on had no roof, our standing orders were to unplug all electric tools and go under the house to wait out any rain storm that might hit us.
There I stood soaked in perspiration – needing a rest break in the worst way – and begging for the rains that never came. Life wasn’t fair then either.
Finally, I bring this subject up because our church is getting ready to make yet another mission trip to the Mississippi coast. I will go along and, hopefully, be in better condition this time. I’ve been walking and lifting weights to prepare my body for a week of physical activity. I’m a bit lighter and feel much better. Hopefully a week of hard labor will do me as much good as it does for the families who are still trying to get their lives back together.
If you’re looking for something worthwhile to do, check out the web site for Lutheran Episcopal Services. Learn about the needs and the groups stepping up to help and maybe you’ll be encouraged to lend a hand.
The people who have been waiting all these years to get their lives back would definitely say that life just isn’t fair. But at least they still have their lives and with the help of volunteers, they have a brighter future.